Saturday, June 16, 2012
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U of I news: Bioenergy leaders to explore progress toward sustainable fuels

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[June 16, 2012]  URBANA -- Scientists from over 12 countries in South and North America will come together to discuss progress toward sustainable fuels from a federal and industry perspective. The 3rd Pan American Congress on Plants and Bioenergy encompasses genomics, genetics and plant breeding, advances in plant biology and biochemistry for improved bioenergy and biofuels production and quality, and mitigating the environmental impacts of bioenergy production. Many of the major public and private initiatives in biofuels are represented. The conference will be July 15-18 at the I-Hotel and Conference Center of the University of Illinois in Champaign.

Stephen Long, professor and director of the Energy Biosciences Institute at Illinois, said: "This will be a great opportunity to discuss the explosion of research and development on plant and algal bioenergy production that has occurred over the past five years and its implications from business opportunity to environment. Further, it will be an opportunity to understand how this is being implemented by the world’s two largest biofuel producers, Brazil and the United States, and indeed to see the cutting edge of that production on a site visit."

Keynote speakers will be Dr. Sharlene Weatherwax, associate director of science for biological and environmental research within the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and Dr. John Pierce, chief bioscientist for BP. The speakers will address how research has broken the barriers and taken on challenges to rapid expansion of cellulosic ethanol production, from a federal and industry perspective, respectively.

Over 250 participants representing academia, industry and government from North, Central and South America are expected to attend the congress, which is in association with the American Society of Plant Biologists. Attendees will also have the opportunity to visit the adjacent 150-hectare EBI Energy Farm and the nearby ADM bioethanol plant, one of the largest in the United States.

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The meeting will offer plenary sessions, with presentations and short talks chosen from submitted abstracts, and poster sessions. Some of the invited speakers are Dr. Marcos Buckeridge and Dr. Antonio Bonomi from the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory, Professor David Zilberman from the University of California at Berkeley, Professor Jeremy Woods from imperial College in London, and Dr. Richard Sayre from Los Alamos National Lab.

The $275 standard registration covers the costs of attendance and meals for the conference. Participants can tour the ADM ethanol production facility for an additional $25. There is a discount for early registration. To view the list of speakers, register for the meeting or submit an abstract, visit

[Text from news release received from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences]

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